Direct democracy

Daniel Rosen

Photo By David Robert

John Kennedy once wrote that the people of Massachusetts did not send him to the Senate to be a seismograph of their opinions. But that’s exactly the role Daniel Rosen wants in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Stateline musician is running as an independent in order to set up a new way of legislating.

How would your system work?

It’s the same system. The only thing is I’ve pledged to vote in Congress only as directed by the majority of the citizens in the district, who can either go online … or by telephone [to] cast a vote on specific legislation pending in Congress.


We view this—when I say “we” [it’s] the people of Nevada Vote Direct—view this as the solution to political corruption and the way of making government responsive to the people. The only other thing that I want to add about the system is that it’s a comprehensive system based on Robert’s Rules of Order, which has been revised for the Internet specifically for Nevada Vote Direct. This means that I will be working together with citizens after I’m elected to formulate more general rules that control my votes in Congress when last-minute votes or amendments preclude the possibility of citizens making [the decision].

What’s Nevada Vote Direct?

It’s the organization we formed … that created this voting system and that accepts members who are registered voters in the district who will be actually empowered to control my vote in Congress.

How does it remove corruption? It appears to me that in March of 2003, the public would almost certainly have voted for war in Iraq because they’d been given all kinds of information that was incorrect. How would this system have changed things?

Well, the way it eliminates corruption is that nobody’s going to offer to send me to the Bahamas or to a golf course in Scotland in exchange for my vote when they know that I’m not in control of my vote, when they know the people who are in control of my vote are the citizens of the district.

There’s a purpose behind republican representation. One of them the founders mentioned was to protect us from peoples’ passions. Suppose the people vote for lynching or for gassing Jews? Would you vote in concert with their wishes?

Well, as I say, this is not actually a change of the system. We still have a constitutional system here. We still have a Bill of Rights. All of that continues to trump any sort of votes of that sort.

But if the public directed you to vote that way, would you?

I will vote without recourse and without waver according to the direction of the majority of the voters.

Then what happens to the founders’ purpose?

It’s my impression, anyway, as a student of American history, that the founders wanted government to be responsive to the people, that representatives would go to Washington to represent the people and represent what they wanted done there. And I think that Abraham Lincoln was absolutely within the spirit of the founders of the republic when he said, “What I want is to get done what the people would have me do. The problem for me is how to find out what that is exactly.” And today, with developments in technology, I think we do have a way of conveying scientifically what the citizens want. It’s time for representatives to stop obeying the dictates of big money lobbyists and start obeying the dictates of their constituents.